Just a few days after issuing a 37-page indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for their involvement in "information warfare" and sowing discord about the 2016 election, Special Counsel Robert Mueller unsealed charges against another person for lying to investigators. As with the charges against Michael Flynn, Mueller is accusing Alex Van Der Zwaan of lying about his contact with people, including Richard Gates. As with the other indictments, the charges contain no evidence of the "Trump-Russia collusion" that was the impetus for the investigation.
Bloomberg reports that Van Der Zwaan — a former Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher & Flom associate — was charged on February 16 for lying to investigators from the FBI and Mueller's team "about conversations related to his work on a report prepared by his law firm on the legitimacy of the criminal prosecution of a former Ukrainian prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko."
Van Der Zwaan was part of a team of lawyers who prepared a Ukranian-commissioned report in 2012 that "largely defended" the government's prosecution of Tymoshenko, an action both the U.S. and EU decried as politically motivated. In his talks with investigators, the lawyer attempted to bury two important conversations with contacts.
Though Van Der Zwaan told investigators he had not contacted Gates since August 2015, the special counsel found that the two had talked a month later about the report in a call that the lawyer "secretly recorded." Another secret recording allegedly proves that Van Der Zwaan spoke with "Person A" in 2016; he told investigators that they had last spoken in 2014.
Bloomberg notes that Van Der Zwaan was allegedly recruited by Manafort to prepare the Ukranian report. He appears to have worked with a former Obama White House counsel:
Manafort was involved in recruiting Skadden to prepare the report on behalf of Ukraine, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg News. The Skadden team was headed by Gregory Craig, a partner who had worked as President Barack Obama’s White House counsel from 2009 to 2010 and for President Bill Clinton during his impeachment.
Both Manafort and Gates have been charged for failing to register as agents for a foreign government in their political consulting work for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine.